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From time to time, and with much delight, I sometimes write about my neighbors.
It is with deep sadness I now write about one of them.
Homer Hamby, who died this week, has lived in the same gray brick house across from mine since the neighborhood was established in the 1950s.
Many of you may know him as a pharmacist who put in 50 years at Kinser Drugs in Kingston, or as a pillar of respect at Harriman Church of God.
His kindness, calmness, generosity and humility were the stuff more of us should be made of.
My dealings with Homer were mostly those of the outdoor, neighborly kind.
I’d wave as I passed while walking my dogs. He’d wave as he drove by while I mowed my yard.
A few words here, a few words there.
Our neighborhood is among the safest in the county, and I believe the influence of Homer and his beloved wife, Donna, have a lot to do with that.
They and other longtimers there, in particular June and Marion Dinkins, have long kept a watchful eye out.
The Hambys also are responsible for a longtime July 4 fireworks tradition in the neighborhood. You may have seen it on the hill across from the city of Kingston before the city’s own fireworks program began.
I’ll never forget the late-night call from the Hambys summoning me to their backyard in midsummer.
Homer’s night-blooming cereus had opened, and he wanted to share the fragrant, moonlike blossom with someone he knew would appreciate it.
Homer worked hard at his every task, yet made everyone feel like he had all the time in the world for them.
My favorite memories of him will be of him working happily in the yard on spring, summer and fall days, or watching him with his happy assortment of children and grandchildren. He loved to spend time with them, especially around the tire swing in the front yard.
Homer’s family is heartbroken right now, as are his neighbors. He was an unusually special man, the kind you don’t encounter often.
His presence was, indeed, a gift to us all.